You probably know Queen Victoria best by those 19th-century photographs of her, that stout and gloomy dowager draped in black. "The Young Victoria," a ravishing docudrama, goes beyond those enduring images, presenting a youthful and spirited Victoria long before she put the Victorian in the Victorian Era.
Emily Blunt ("The Devil Wears Prada") portrays our titular heroine who would become the United Kingdom's longest-serving monarch. Lengthy text in the film's beginning explains how Victoria, as a young princess, is caught between various camps vying for power. Her mother, the Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson), keeps the girl on a royally short leash, even forbidding her daughter to read popular books or venture down a staircase without holding an adult's hand.
All the while, the Duchess and her dastardly advisor, Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong, "Sherlock Holmes"), scheme to usurp Victoria's power if she should ascend to the throne before reaching the age of 18. The obstinate queen-to-be resists their efforts, however, and in 1837 she is crowned after the death of her uncle, William IV (Jim Broadbent, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"). Victoria banishes her mother and Conroy to forgotten corners of Buckingham Palace, but the new queen is beset by other forces out to manipulate her. Politically inexperienced and a touch na